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There's No Shortcutting the City

Here’s an idea I’ve been mulling over recently, here, in the city, there’s no shortcutting life. This city takes time, effort, energy, money, everything you’ve got to get through day in and day out and I don’t mean that in a bad way. It’s in this idea a dichotomy arises, in one of the worlds most modern and fast paced cities, life seems a bit relegated to a sort of past days I didn’t know still existed. A day where people walked from place to place, coexisted on the streets with their neighbors and shoped in stores vs online at Amazon. I know that’s a bit of a jump in ideas, but let me see if I can tie this all together, stick with me here.


It takes time to get anywhere and everywhere. Whether you’re walking, trying to navigate the subway or most usually a combination of both, it just takes time. There’s no quicker route or an option to just hit the gas pedal a little harder, you just simply take the time it takes to get places. Even if you get out somewhere and you get tired, or cold, don’t feel well, or just decide you want to get home, there’s no shortcut, you just gotta go back the way you came and, you guessed it, it takes time. 

And I’ll clarify, yes Ubers and Taxis are always an option, but any vehicle transportation comes with its own set of time issues and it’s just hard to justify the cost when the subway is only $2.90. 


Anyone who has lived in the city can tell you this, but it takes enormous effort to make life happen in the city. I’ve already talked about this more in my last post so I won’t dive deep, but even the trash rules in the city make it so that you have three different types of trash you keep sorted at all times. Most apartments don’t come with amenities such as microwaves, garbage disposals or dishwashers. It takes a bit more effort to boil your tea water on a pot on the stove, catch extra food in the sink to throw away so it doesn’t clog the drain and hand wash and dry dishes (I can feel my grandma rolling her eyes at me as I type this, but YES this kind of stuff feels old school to me). Somehow this makes life feel a bit simpler. 

Even purchasing a Christmas tree comes with the effort(full) options of carrying it, stuffing it onto a subway or a unique mode of transportation (such as a backpack or even rolling it on a skateboard, yes I’ve seen both) because no Uber or Taxi is going to allow you to stuff your 6 ft Christmas tree in their back seat. 


Everytime you exit your apartment, the city brings you face to face with other people. There’s no getting in your car to avoid the tourists, the rush hour commuters on the subway or just simply put, the crazies that are also out and about in a large city. Whether you're directly interacting with them or not, your body feels it, the buzzing hum and sensation of existing with thousands of bodies all around you, everywhere you go. And the beautiful thing about the city is that each individual story is so vast and different from the other. Different languages, types of food and styles exist on every street corner. 

Here’s the thing I’m trying to get to, all of this  time, effort, energy, makes you have to slow down and actually live life. There’s no hoping in your car to avoid others. There’s no kids staring blankly into phones and ipads because they’re aware and focused on navigating the city around them. Even the seasons seem to help you keep tabs on time. The hot, humid summer dims in time for the crispness of fall and then temperatures start to drop to the chill of winter. 

In my mind, this life echoes a bit of the past day and age here and it’s hard to explain why I feel that. Maybe it’s because you’re forced to feel it all, experience it all. You feel everything, the cold, the heat, the exhaustion, joy, the frustration, the comradery, the distance, the accessibility. There’s no escaping any of it, no shortcutting anything. 

In the middle of all of these experiences and feelings you realize how alive you feel and maybe more that’s it. That when faced with the blunt reality of experiencing and feeling life, for all the good and hard, no maneuvering around it or making it easier, you realize how much it can escape you anywhere else.

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